Orange MP pushes for AU$15m greyhound racing track in regional NSW
Phil Donato argues that the facility would bring significant economic benefits and job opportunities to the area.
Australia.- Orange MP Phil Donato is urging the greyhound racing industry to invest in a new AU$15m racing track in his town in regional New South Wales (NSW). The Greyhound Breeders, Owners, and Trainers Association would own the track, which it says would create jobs and bring AU$20m into the local economy.
The association is investing in regional NSW at the same time that it prepares to leave its historic Wentworth Park home in inner Sydney. It has been announced that the state government will not renew the lease on the venue in 2027.
However, animal welfare advocates are against the project. Kylie Field from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds argues that before opening any new facility, a cap on breeding should be put in place to prevent dogs from suffering fatal injuries. She claims that investing in tracks is a ploy “to win votes in regional areas” that “leaves nothing but dead dogs and destroyed families from gambling.”
See also: Australian greyhound track criticised due to animal injuries
Greyhound racing has faced controversy in recent years. A report by former High Court judge Michael McHugh detailed evidence of live animal baiting and the slaughter of tens of thousands of greyhounds in July 2016. Former NSW premier Mike Baird said he would shut down greyhound racing but backtracked after public opposition.
Greyhound Racing NSW says that today there is zero unnecessary euthanasia of dogs, more controlled breeding, a bigger greyhound adoption programme and fewer catastrophic injuries than in 2016. An economic impact report cfound that the sector contributes almost AU$630m a year to the NSW economy.
Plans for the new racing track in Orange are part of a wider push to improve existing racing tracks or build new ones. NSW deputy premier and member for Bathurst Paul Toole joined Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive Rob Macaulay in Lithgow last week to announce an AU$3m upgrade of that track. There are also plans to build a new “super track” in Taree.